Chicago cops could potentially have access to thousands of new cameras -- on residents' front doors

Posted9/18/2019 10:46 AM

The Chicago Police Department soon will join forces with the video doorbell company Ring -- potentially giving cops access to thousands of cameras fixed to residents' front doors around the city.

Police have "no hesitation" to partner with Ring and will announce a pilot program soon, a Chicago police spokesman says.


"We think (Ring) has tremendous potential" to improve the department's capabilities, said CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

But critics fear a partnership would be a dangerous and "creepy" step toward mass surveillance. The sheer scale of the doorbell-camera network hands law enforcement too much power, critics like the American Civil Liberties Union say.

If CPD joins Ring, it would be the largest department in the nation to do so.

More than 400 police departments nationwide have already partnered with the Amazon company. At least 25 Chicago suburban departments have signed on in the past year -- including Arlington Heights, Cicero, Naperville and Aurora.

Guglielmi said the department met with Ring a month ago and has been talking to other police departments about their experiences with the program. He said a pilot program will be created soon. He did not elaborate on where it would take place or for how long it would take place.

Police would be able to solicit Chicago residents for doorbell video through Ring's social media app, Neighbors, where users share videos showing everything from package thieves to, in one case, an Englewood drive-by shooting in which a woman was struck in the head by a stray bullet.

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